Our new survey reveals how Gen Zers and Millennials are navigating adulthood. Turns out, the majority do not feel like they have “adulting” figured out.
More than half of Gen Z is now 18 years or older and stuck trying to figure out developing adulthood and becoming an adult alongside Millennials. The oldest Gen Z is now 26 years old, and the oldest Millennial is 42!
But in a new survey of 1,000 Gen Zers and Millennials, we found that both generations don’t know how to complete common “adulting” tasks on their own. On top of that, Gen Zers can’t even turn to Millennials for help… since our report found half of Millennials don’t feel like they have a handle on growing up yet.
One of the biggest struggles for both generations revolves around cars. 63% of the younger generations have no idea how to do an oil change, 48% don’t know how to change a tire, and 42% don’t know how to jumpstart a car!
Nearly half (46%) also don’t know how to tie a tie, and 2 in 5 (41%) are unable to sew simple holes in clothes.
Nearly 1 in 3 (32%) aren’t even sure how to change a diaper. Broken down by generation, 42% of Gen Zers admitted to not knowing how to change a diaper compared to 29% of Millennials. Another task Gen Z struggles with more than Millennials is writing a check! Nearly 1 in 5 (17%) Gen Zers admitted they don’t know how to write one.
Nearly 3 in 5 (57%) do not feel like they have adulting figured out. Specifically, 80% of Gen Z compared to 49% of Millennials feel this way. Nearly 2 in 3 (63%) Gen Zers and Millennials do not feel like they were prepared for the responsibility of being an adult, and 63% admit they feel burned out by adulthood.
Each generation has a different idea about when they’ll succeed at “adulting.” Gen Zers are more optimistic than Millennials. Nearly 1 in 5 (19%) of the youngest generation believes they’ll have it figured out by 30 years of age, but 27% of Millennials don’t think they’ll have it figured out until they’re 40 or older!
According to both generations, the hardest part of adulting is managing money. 67% ranked managing money as the number one struggle followed by saving for retirement (49%), saving for a home (48%), and finding a well-liked job (45%).
Meanwhile, more than 1 in 3 (37%) feel figuring out insurance is complicated, especially certain types of insurance. Specifically, Gen Zers and Millennials feel health insurance is the hardest to manage. We’ll have more on that in just a bit.
Others struggle to maintain relationships (40%) and deal with family or aging parents (36%). More than 1 in 4 (26%) married people who took the survey feel marriage is one of the hardest parts of adulting.
When it comes down to it, a lot of people struggle to figure out what to eat at the end of the day. 35% said planning out meals is one of the hardest parts of growing up. Even in the past month, 46% have turned to a cheap, easy meal: ramen.
1 in 3 Gen Zers and Millennials do not feel financially independent. More than half (54%) of Gen Z feel that way compared to 1 in 4 Millennials. Currently, 51% of Gen Zers are living with their parents versus 19% of Millennials.
Parents are stepping in to help these younger generations financially stay afloat. According to both generations, more than 1 in 5 (22%) say their parents have helped with rent or mortgage in the past year, and 34% admit their parents gave them money (not as a gift) to help them pay for something within the last 12 months. In fact, 41% feel like they rely too much on their family as an adult.
Nearly half (49%) of Gen Zers and Millennials think they’ll feel most like an adult when they buy a house, but 49% don’t think they’ll ever be able to afford one! Millennials who don’t own a home are more cynical about this than the younger generation. 54% of Millennials compared to 40% of Gen Z feel like they’ll never own a home.
When it comes to their careers, 61% of Millennials and Gen Zers feel they need to be more successful professionally. More than 1 in 5 (22%) shared that one of the hardest parts of being a working adult is holding a job. In fact, in the past year, 22% quit a job without having another lined up.
Nearly 1 in 3 (28%) don’t know what a Roth IRA is, and currently, 50% do not have a retirement account (68% Gen Zers versus 44% Millennials)!
While 95% feel like insurance is important, only 75% currently have their own insurance. The top insurances Millennials and Gen Zers have are health insurance (94%), car insurance (74%), and home/renter insurance (54%). 38% also have life insurance and 3% have some kind of business insurance in place. When asked which insurance is the hardest to manage, 68% felt healthcare is the most difficult to figure out.
If Millennials and Gen Zers had the opportunity, more than 2 in 5 (43%) would be interested in paying for a class to learn about adulting! On average, people said they’d be willing to pay $24 for a session.
Navigating the world as an adult, especially with the pandemic and economic uncertainty, hasn’t been easy. The good news is we’re here to help make it easier (at least when it comes to insurance)! So, work together, trust each other, and know that getting better at “adulting” comes with time and experience.
In January 2023, we surveyed 1,050 Gen Zers and Millennials to ask them how they feel about adulting. Respondents ranged in age from 18 to 42 with an average age of 31. 49% were men, 48% women, 2% non-binary/non-comforming, and 1% transgender. 27% were Gen Z and 73% were Millennials. Gen Zers were identified as anyone 18-26 and Millennials were identified as anyone 27-42
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